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Kirkland closes FNF season with another TKO

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Box_fw_kirkland_wolfe_300_medium Austin native and KO artist James Kirkland ended the 10th season of Friday Night Fights with a bang, scoring a second-round TKO over Ricardo Cortes in the main event.

Kirkland (23-0, 20 KO) was the heavy favorite against Cortes despite giving up four inches of height to the lanky, 6'1" underdog, partly because he's been so overwhelming in recent bouts and partly because he was fighting at the Austin Music Hall in Texas, which is a super room for boxing, by the way.

Kirkland dropped Cortes in the second round, and though Cortes continued on, the fight was stopped moments later with Kirkland throwing and showing no regard for caution. Cortes thought the stoppage was a bit quick (as did I and as did ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas), but it's another one of those times where I don't think you can argue that the outcome was in any doubt.

It was also the 24-year old Kirkland's first fight since leaving Gary Shaw. With trainer Ann Wolf at his side, I think Kirkland will be just fine without Shaw. He's got the type of fighter that will never, ever have trouble finding a TV home, which means he won't have trouble finding decent opponents, either. In the 154-pound division, there just aren't many guys that offer his level of excitement.

On the undercard, Rolando Reyes won a close decision against fellow veteran Ivan Valle, a fight that Atlas had scored as a draw. Reyes improves to 30-4-2 (19) in boxing's toughest division.